Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Saturday teaching - starting the second half of the semester 

So having graded I decided that the second half of the semester of my classes on Saturdays would be structured to try and remedy the first half problems. This meant, first, that I would try to structure the learning so that students would not be overly handicapped if they completely blew the first part of the lesson. For Geometry, I can move onwards and upwards reasonably well, partly because a significant fraction of the class did well on the first test, partly because of how I'm focusing the proof portions of the class. Other than some basic understanding of some of the postulates that we've had thusfar, the main thing is to understand proof-writing. I can start that from scratch with the triangle theorems and I think that this is probably where I should have started to begin with.

Trig, on the other hand, requires that we have to go back and re-learn a lot of the material. I've decided to dramatically scale back the scope of the class from where we started. We spent the day focusing on trig identities. By connecting some of what we need to do explicitly with algebra that they already know, we're getting a better understanding of this. I had hoped that the students could have engaged in self-directed learning as part of the homework, but that wasn't happening. I guess my expectations were too high. Still, I think that it's better to have too high of expectations than too low.

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